Sunday, 19 February 2012

Mirror, mirror.

So getting older is a bit of a bitch. This we know but I’m thinking that for all the aches and moans and clicking knees and wrinkles and changing eyesight and cruel twist of gravity and slowing of reactions and memory lapses, it’s better than the alternative.

The thing that’s on my mind a lot as my older daughter approaches her 18th birthday is where my generation fits in to the age spectrum.

It's as though there is a swathe through western society of women between 30 and 50 who aspire to 25 and have the money to achieve this. Looking good does seem to have a clear path to feeling good for so many

 We have old women and young women and girls trying to look older and women trying to look younger and I’m wondering that as we fill our foreheads with Botox and our wrinkles with a collagen, our breasts with silicone and our hair with tint are we somehow stemming the flow of natural ageing in some way?

Of course women have now attained the right to do as we wish dependent on where you live but does that come as a result of our own needs or the urging of a society which alters when it alteration finds?

To be flat chested or wrinkled or greying or even to have thinner lips than a twenty year old seems to be a primary concern, whilst truly diverse people become even more marginalized and targeted by hatred on our streets.

So I struggle to marry this with the notion that you can now have collagen injected into the back of your hands to diminish the visible sign of cartilage, which denotes ageing. This takes trivial to a new level in my opinion.

To be a woman who tangibly ages it seems is tantamount to self proclaimed failure. When did denying your age visually become tantamount to an expression of emancipation?

I tint my hair so I’m not denying that I fall into the category of vain, I’m just wondering if we somehow have devalued ourselves to such a degree that we now only exist if we do so from the vantage point of attempting at least a nod towards physical perfection.

I think if what you need you can find supplied with a procedure or an appointment then all power to you, I’m just raising the idle question of why.

When did feeling better about you become the standard for so many women? In doing so do I’m not suggesting that they are sublimating the intellectual for the physical but it’s interesting to me that so many women feel driven to find the fountain of youth and have it injected into their bodies.

This also does not diminish the horrific stories of the for-profit Pip implants which have filled the headlines. These women trusted that they would be cared for and they weren’t. They were utterly devalued and let down.

I’m just wondering what is the next step on our journey into an image obsessed age.

I also wonder how far it takes us from those of our fellow humans who cannot match this highly prescriptive model.

My Mum was very youthful. She dyed her hair for a while but then let the grey show through and until she died last December two weeks shy of her 78th birthday she had hardly any. 

I think of her a lot especially as Lizzy approaches adulthood. Not only her external beauty but the loveliness of her character which is although trite and often said is the best aspiration eh?

                                                           Mum at 60 holding Lizzy.